Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil and Farro

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Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil and Farro

Sep 8, 2017Fall, Recipes, Summer

Well, we are getting our first taste of fall; up here in east TN, it has been in the 40’s the last couple of mornings and with Irma barreling towards us, most of the south should see some rain.  That makes me feel like snuggling up under a blanket, reading, and having some soup…but there are still fresh tomatoes you say, no problem with this one pot, stick to your ribs, fresh tomato soup.  Even with the farro, I envision serving this with a big hunk of crusty bread, maybe with a little garlic and olive oil rubbed and drizzled on.  If you cannot find the farro, you could always substitute soaked wheat or spelt berries.  Two notes: As I was reading this an announcement came that the Tuesday markets would be cancelled this week, due to Irma, so get to your local Saturday market and stock up before she heads our way.  Also, I will be away next week, so no recipe post next Friday.  Be safe!


  • 1 ½ tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 ½ cups farro
  • 3 large sprigs basil, stems and leaves separated
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 ¼ pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
  • Black pepper, to taste



  • Pour 8 cups cold water and 1 1/2 tablespoons salt into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium, add the farro and basil stems, and cook until grains are tender but still a little chewy, about 25 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.
  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the leek and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook leeks until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes have completely fallen apart, about 30 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, blender or food processor, purée the tomato mixture until smooth (you may have to do this in batches). Add half the farro and pulse until the grains are broken down and the soup is a chunky purée. Stir in the remaining farro. If the soup seems thick, add more cooking liquid. Taste and add more salt if needed. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Drizzle with oil; top generously with black pepper and torn basil leaves.



You overbought fresh tomatoes at the farmers’ market and now you’re left with a pile of overly-soft, rapidly-ripening fruit. What to do? Make a hearty, vegetable-based soup with those mushy tomatoes puréed into satiny sweetness. To mimic the creaminess of many tomato soup recipes, I often blend softly stewed tomatoes with a grain, in this case, farro. It adds an earthy flavor, and body, to make a tomato soup with bona fide stick-to-your ribs inclinations.